As recruitment consultants, we are not sure that this is good practice. In fact I would recommend avoiding confronting candidates head on with technical questions.
Firstly, at an interview a candidate is nervous and slightly wary, secondly partners of law firms are notorious for asking questions that no-one on the interview panel knows or understands, and thirdly the questions tend to be so long that the interviewee has forgotten what the start of the question was before you get to the end!
We think the better option is to have a file of work ready, hand it to the interviewee, and ask them what they would do in a particular scenario. You can then keep adding extra tasks or problems as you go on.
You can also ask the interviewee to explain particular matters arising from the file, and assess their abilities to interact with clients, handle files, deal with their caseload, and how they deal with a stressful situation.
The other way of dealing with a candidate’s knowledge is to ask them to give you details of a specific case or file and then ask questions to find out how they dealt with it and any problems they experienced.
Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment (www.ten-percent.co.uk) – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org